South Carolina Hosts Texas A&M in Life After Manziel and Shaw

The NCAA football season starts in full force on Thursday with a number of games on the schedule. One of those games is the South Carolina Gamecocks hosting the Texas A&M Aggies, with new quarterbacks taking over for both teams.

South Carolina has 6 to 1 odds to win the SEC and 30- to 1 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff and national championship.

The current line on Bovada and has South Carolina -10.5. The point total on betonline and topbet is sitting on 58.

The line has bounced back and forth from 10.5 to 11. The total was opened on 56 and has been bet up to its current 58.

This is the first head-to-head meeting between the two schools. South Carolina at home during last season was 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS.

Texas A&M was 2-2 SU as well as 0-4 ATS in away games last season.

Both teams will have new quarterbacks with Texas A&M using Kenny Hill a sophomore. He has the unenviable task of replacing Johnny Manziel who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

Last season he attempted just 22 passes, but he won the starting job over Kyle Allen a true freshman. However, that competition is not over and Allen is ready to take over if need be.

Connor Shaw is no longer at South Carolina and head coach Steve Spurrier must find someone to replace his 7,534  career total yards, 72 touchdowns and 33 victories during 2011 through 2013.

The Gamecocks will start Dylan Thompson at quarterback who has only 218 passes to his credit in the NCAA.

Mike Davis the running back for South Carolina has hurt ribs, but his coach said the junior would be ready to play, even though he might not be 100%.

The offense for the Aggies should continue on fine without Manziel. In five of the six years Kevin Sumlin has been the head coach for Texas A&M, the offense has averaged more than 500 yards a game.

The system in place will make Hill a huge success and he could be a special quarterback.

Thompson has played in three seasons with South Carolina and has done well when handed the ball.

The point spread is a large one at 10.5 with the likes of Texas A&M on the other side of the ball. The best bet is to take the Aggies and the 10-5 points. The UNDER should also cash out.

The weather forecast has called for mid-80s temperatures and no rain or wind is expected.

Louisville Favored but is Memphis the Better Team

NCAA men’s basketball is winding down its regular season with important conference games on the schedule as team attempt to get higher seeds for conference tournaments and push to be selected on Selection Sunday for the NCAA tournament.

On Saturday, the Louisville Cardinals 24-4 SU and 14-12 ATS and ranked No. 7 in the nation, attempt to avenge a home loss to the Memphis Tigers 21-7 SU and 13-11-1 ATS and ranked No. 21 in the nation.

The two met in an American Athletic Conference showdown on January 9 with the Tigers as a 10.5-point dog. Memphis was able to pull off the SU upset 73-67 on Louisville’s home court.

Since that loss, the Cardinals, the defending NCAA national champions, have won 11 of 12, including their past 7. They are now peaking just when they need to heading towards the NCAA tournament.

Memphis is on a skid of 1-4 ATS over their past 4 games played. The Tigers were pushed to overtime last weekend against Temple, which is in last place in the conference. The Tigers also struggled to defeat both Central Florida and Rutgers, two weak opponents.

The current line on Bovada, betonline and topbet has Louisville favored by 4.5 points. In the win the first time the two teams played, all five starters for Memphis scored 10 points or more. Prior to the win, betting trends on showed that Louisville had won four straight in the head-to-head series.

On Bovada, trends to take a look at include the ‘dogs. The underdog has covered the number in 7 of the past 10 games between the two teams. Louisville has covered the spread in 4 of the past 5 games it has played on the road.

Memphis has covered in 11 of its past 14 games after a loss against the spread.

The UNDER has cashed in all four of the past four games Louisville has played on the road.

Memphis has covered the number in 8 of the past 11 games between the two teams. The OVER has cashed in 23 of the past 24 games Louisville has played overall.

This game is a revenge match for the Cardinals. On their current streak of 11 wins in 12 games, the Cardinals are outscoring their opponents by an average of 21 points a game.

However, that will not be done easily against a Memphis club that is so talented. For some odds makers, the better or more talented team is Memphis and the Tigers should be the favorite.

Pick: Memphis and the 4.5 to cover and the OVER.

Bama Will Expose the A&M Defense on Saturday

I expect McCarron to be just fine on the road in College Station. He's been here before many times.

Normally, this is the point in the week where I start to pick four or five games I really like for the upcoming college week. I am putting that on the shelf because I really couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t pay special attention to the biggest game of the college football season taking place Saturday afternoon in College Station.

Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide have had this game circled on their calendars since the Aggies and Johnny Manziel upset them in Tuscaloosa last fall. Bama is currently listed as an eight-point favorite even though the game is being played in Texas. The Tide enters 1-0 on the season with their win coming against Virginia Tech (35-10) in a game much closer than the final score.

Texas A&M enters at 2-0 with two home victories against Rice (52-31) and Sam Houston State (65-28). Heisman Trophy winner Manziel will not be speaking to the media this week per sources at the University and that’s probably a good idea. I would recommend they also de-activate his Twitter account as well. Much like Alabama, the scores are a bit misleading for the Aggies.

In both games, Aggie opponents were within 10 points of them in the second half. While Rice is a decent team, and that’s being nice, SHSU should not be running for 240 yards on a team in the top 10 and that’s exactly what they did.

Saban will point the Tide to victory in College Station.

Saban has made it very clear the importance of this game to his players. He’s had last year’s game running on a loop throughout the football facility and has the A&M logo plastered throughout the weight room. You would think that knowing the Crimson Tide got the last laugh by winning the national title that this game wouldn’t mean as much to them but that isn’t how Saban operates.

Tide QB A.J. McCarron will play well especially since he is coming off a very pedestrian performance in the opener. I have to believe T.J. Yeldon will see plenty of touches against an Aggies’ defense that is giving up an average of 273 yards per game. His running will set up McCarron in the play-action passing game where he will thrive.

I expect Manziel to make plays. You don’t win the Heisman and not do that on a regular basis. Saban will have other ideas however entering this game. He admitted they weren’t properly prepared to play the Aggies last year on the defensive side of the ball and he won’t make that mistake again. This defense has arguably more talent than last year’s squad and has been licking its chops at the chance to get Manziel again.

Trends Entering The Game

Saban is 8-4 against the spread when he has time to prepare for an opponent while at Bama.

Bama is 16-8 ATS in road games in which Saban and company are favored.

The Aggies are 9-9-1 as home underdogs over the last 10 seasons.

Both teams are 5-0 straight up in their last five games.

The Aggies are 6-1 at home straight up in their last seven home games.

In eight seasons at Alabama, LSU and Auburn are the only teams to defeat Saban more than once.

The Pick

The atmosphere will be electric. There are already fans outside of Kyle Stadium trying to get the last remaining tickets and I’m guessing the RV’s are already lining up to get in prime parking position. Texas A&M is very talented offensively and will pose problems for the Bama defense with both the run and the pass. The difference in this game however is the Bama offense against the A&M defense.

I can’t help but think the Crimson Tide will pound the ball at will and will wear down the Aggies and keep Manziel off the field at the same time. This environment will be nothing new for Alabama and they will thrive once both teams settle down in the first quarter. Look for Alabama to cover the spread en route to a big win on the road.